I’d say in about August of last year, I started asking my parents about taking a family vacation with us in June of THIS year. We already knew that Tom had a vacation week on the second week of June– the same week that Noah would be home with us before spending four long weeks in Tennessee with his dad. We wanted a vacation we could all go on together, somewhere nearby. We set the dates and spent months looking into beach towns and pricing. We landed on Cherry Grove Beach in South Carolina and booked it back in April. We also knew that my cousin Chad was getting married on the 17th in Alabama and my cousin Justin was having his first baby and we wanted to help with the baby shower for his wife, Cathy– so the family vacation turned into quite a BIG trip: from NC to SC, from SC to AL and then from AL to NC in a matter of 10 days!
While I was packing their clothes for our trip, Emry Jane was “packing her car” aka Eli’s bed for HER trip. Every single shoe of hers and Eli’s that was not packed in our suitcase is somewhere on that bed, plus multiple bags, baby dolls and a toy high chair and food for her pink baby. This is a glimpse into what happens ANY time I try to be productive while the twins are awake– a big mess!
Saturday morning, our family of 5 set out for the first leg of our trip– the BEACH! My sister was taking the ACT that morning so we would be arriving well before the rest of my family. We decided to take our time and go see South of the Border. We had seen SO many billboards advertising it so driving about 20 minutes out of the way to stop there just made sense. Well, maybe not so much sense after we got there, haha.
Photo proof that we were in fact at South of the Border– and that Noah brought his ALARM CLOCK with us on vacation. *insert eye roll. He says that he brought it so that he could not what time it was from the back seat…
We made it to Cherry Grove about 3pm on Saturday … just in time for the twins to take a short nap before my parents and siblings got there. This is the view from our room. Dalton had to work Monday through Thursday of our vacation week, but he came to the beach Saturday and left Sunday. He also flew to Alabama on Friday and back to Greensboro, NC on Sunday, so at a couple different points in this trip everyone was together.
Saturday night, we went to Filet’s for dinner and it was awesome. Our table was on the patio and there were corn hole boards nearby, so Noah had a great time playing with other kids while we ate. The restaurant is also right beside a swing bridge so the twins watched that over and over and over.
I thought it was a drawbridge, but we learned later (after making that mini video) that it is actually a swing bridge… you know, because it swings.
Our mornings on the beach were all pretty similar. We would lug allllll the beach “necessities,” towels, chairs, etc. down to the beach and claim our spot. Then our twins would play in the sand for 5 minutes, play in the water for 10 minutes and eat snacks for 3 hours, usually while lying ON TOP OF Mama. Noah really enjoyed the ocean and making friends with other kids on the beach that all have cooler toys like soccer balls, boogie boards and surf boards. We constantly had to remind him that he could not go out in the ocean without one of OUR adults. I love playing in the waves too, but we wanted to make sure he stayed close… and it was a constant battle because he wants to be i-n-d-e-p-e-n-d-e-n-t. What is the 9 year old version of a threenager?!
Christopher joined our family vacation party on Sunday before dinner. We managed to have a big family dinner in Nana & Papa’s condo before Dalton had to leave to go back to NC for work. This is how Chris spends most of his time with family…. sleeping 😉
Another beautiful morning at the beach 🙂 We had great weather the whole time we were in Cherry Grove!
During nap times for the twins, Tommy would study (for his next board exam coming up in mid-July) and Noah and I would go down to the pool– usually with my mom, Chris and Savannah. Dad usually had the mornings off to hang out with us, but had to work in the afternoons. The “rooftop” pool of our resort was on the 9th floor of our condo, above the parking garage but 6 floors below our room. It was nice to be able to supervise Noah playing while getting some sun! The biggest reasons that we chose to stay in a resort, instead of renting a beach house, were amenities like the pools, lazy river and hot tubs on this deck AND the number of similar-aged kids that Noah would have to play with while we were there. Turns out, there was a cheerleading competition close by and there were TONS of girls his age all over our resort. He wasn’t sad about it.
We would bring the twins down to the pool after their nap. Sometimes T would join us and sometimes he would stay and study until dinner. The twins really liked the lazy river. I think they liked that they could swim in it without the tube, unlike the lazy river at Nana & Papa’s neighborhood pool where they have to balance on top of the tube (and almost always fall off!) Their second favorite part was definitely the “hot pool” (hot tub)– we wouldn’t let them stay in long but the main pool was SO cold, so I don’t blame them for wanting to stay in the lazy river or the hot pool!
On Monday night, we went to eat at Boardwalk Billy’s in North Myrtle Beach, which was supposed to be really good according to Trip Advisor reviews. We waited over 30 minutes for our table and the food was mediocre at best. Definitely not worth the wait. The best part was the giant Jenga game that Savannah and I played while we waited.
On Tuesday, Tommy dug this huge hole and tunnel for the kids and then we worked on building a fortress around it. Emry Jane and I walked the beach collecting shells to go to the roof of each castle. Then, she went all Godzilla on the whole thing and pushed every castle we built into the hole while the boys played in the ocean.
Noah really wanted a boogie board for the waves, so on Monday we bought him one on the way home from Boardwalk Billy’s. On Tuesday, he made friends with a 16 year old guy that had brought some skin boards and his surf board to the beach. Savannah thought the guy was cute, so we encourage her to go talk to him while “watching her nephew.” The guy actually asked Savannah out to the cafe at the resort and Noah replied, “Yeah! Let me ask my mom!” thinking that the guy was also inviting him! HAHA!! The twins and Tommy commandeered the skin board and Noah’s boogie board for some surfing. Eli loved it best, but Emry Jane had a great time too, as long as she didn’t go too far or fast!
Savannah met the guy at the pool later– but Chris had to go chaperone since the rest of us were upstairs. This was the scene from our condo– and I just had to make a meme to send to my parents and Dalton. Huh-larious! Tuesday night, we had lasagna in Nana & Papa’s room so us “big kids” could go play miniature golf in North Myrtle Beach after.
After dinner– playing miniature golf at Professor Hacker’s Lost Treasure
Nana and Papa stayed behind and put the twins to bed, while the rest of us went to play putt-putt. We had to take a train up to the top of the “mountain” to play the course on the way down. It was crowded, but we had a great time. Savannah and I tied for first place. Noah did really well and even got a hole-in-one!
Wednesday was our last beach day before hitting the road Thursday for Alabama. T built another fortress of the kids. Nana and Noah worked on decorating it. Savannah hid from the sun. Tommy and Christopher caught minnows for the twins. Papa had to work. Eli was the one that wanted to catch a fish…. and once Nascar Boy (that’s what Eli named his minnow) was in that blue bucket (above,) Emry Jane had to have one too! She named her’s “Emry Jane.”
On Wednesday night, my parents treated Tommy and I to a dinner out for our anniversary. We went to Joe’s Bar & Grill in North Myrtle Beach. We sat in the bar area by these huge glass windows and we could see an elaborate set of wooden ramps and walkways outside the window. We were told by our server that there were raccoons that would come and hang out on those ramps to get bread. During dinner, which was great, we did not see any raccoons. Just a BUNCH of creepy, white claws from crabs hidden under the ramps. As we were leaving, the lady at the table next to ours encouraged us to go to the bar area at the back of the restaurant. She said she had been at this restaurant a hundred times and had only not seen a raccoon one time. Our server also told us there was a restaurant dog named Daisy that hung out in the outdoor bar area. With the potential to see cute animals, we decided to check out the bar and I am so glad we did. At the corner of the bar deck, closest to the ramp set up, there was a pile of bread that customers had left for the raccoon. Down on the ground was the CUTEST little raccoon waiting (really, begging) for us to drop some bread down to him. I do not know what the rules were on feeding the raccoon. I am not sure if it was for the customers to do or servers only BUT I totally fed the raccoon several little pieces of bread. I would toss down a piece. He would eat it. Then, he would stand on his back legs with his little arms up towards me begging for more. HOW CUTE is that?! Tommy tossed the bread that got him to climb up his ramp, hitting the raccoon in the head with one piece but he didn’t seem to mind. Daisy, the restaurant dog, started barking and scared the raccoon back down into the marsh right after I got the picture of the raccoon and I together.
Thursday, we made the loooonnnggg trek through traffic and storms to Alabama. The kids did well, considering we were in the car for most of the day. We made it to Meema’s house in time for dinner. On Friday, we spent the day at the RV part where Meema and PawPaw keep their RV during the spring and summer months. My uncle David and his girlfriend were also in town for my cousin’s wedding so we all went together. The kids and I went swimming with Meema, Nana, Papa and Savannah (in the pool in the property NOT in the river) while Tommy went fishing on the river with my uncle and Christopher.
On Friday night, we went to see Cars 3 in the Athens movie theater. This was the first movie that twins have seen in a theater… and we did not know it was going to be in 3D. The twins would not keep their 3D glasses on. Emry Jane was very bored and was asking to go potty, go back to the car and for more snacks every few minutes. Eli loved the movie, even without his 3D glasses on. I held his glasses on his face for the ending race scene because knowing that he was watching the movie all blurry was giving ME a headache!
Saturday morning, we celebrated the twins birthday with Noah and Meema and Pawpaw since none of them would be at our house for the twins’ birthday party on the 24th. Before the family sang to them, we caught this video (below) of Eli singing Happy Birthday to Emry Jane. Saturday evening was Chad & Jordan’s wedding, but I am going to post about that in a separate post because I have so many picture from it.
On Sunday, Christopher and our immediate family went to visit Granddaddy Paul before he went to church on Sunday. After that, Tommy and Chris made the drive back to NC because they both had to work on Monday. I drove Noah to TN to meet his dad. Then, the twins and I went back to Granddaddy’s house to visit and have lunch with that side of our family. Granddaddy is not big on pictures, so this is the best one I could get of him and our kids. I cannot believe how TALL Noah looked compared to Granddaddy Paul!!
We made it back to Meema’s in time for Cathy’s baby shower. My mom and Meema worked SO hard on all the decorations. The monkey diaper cake was a team effort, but the rest of the decor was all them! They did a great job! My cousin Justin’s wife, Cathy, is due in August. It’s a boy! They are doing a monkey-themed nursery, hence all the monkey decor at the baby shower. It was so nice to see many of my aunts at the shower.
In no time at all, it was time to go home. Dad had to fly to Chicago for business and Dalton had to go back to Greensboro for work so PawPaw drove them both to the airport on Sunday during the baby shower. Mom, Savannah, the twins and I left Alabama on Monday morning. We stopped in Knoxville for lunch and gas– and the twins did FANTASTIC on the ride home. No complaints or whining at all. We have a great trip! It was so good to be able to relax and spend time with family.